Still exploring

There’s a section of the painting in the previous post that I particularly liked, both for the content and technique. It’s the row of figures drawn in watercolour crayon with a gouache wash giving lightweight colour.Photo0131This technique gives a sense of liveliness because the drawing seems to carry more detail than is actually there.

I have since done two versions, in the second the paint colour deliberately overtakes the drawn marks, however the weight of the colour obliterates a vaguely ethereal effect that was was due to the pale wash.Photo0136Photo0133From here I want to work on a larger version in letterbox format putting the figures into a row rather than two tiers. The increased scale also means working in acrylic, which I’m not sure about because its ‘plastic’ finish will create very different surface qualities, and I like the softness of the gouache. So it may be that I will use acrylic washes, returning to the  more transparent effect of the original detail.

I’m finding the technical elements of WordPress more difficult to work with now as the differences of scale are not apparent with all three the same size within the blog post, but using the first image smaller disrupted the text. You can see I didn’t quite solve that when resizing it. More to learn, but I’d rather be painting than wrestling with the computer.



Stepping stones

Invented a complicated metaphor about crossing a river on stones and being constantly distracted by what looks like a better way, though without a clear idea of my destination, apart from the basic crossing to the other side. What that means for the art is, I am hopping from one idea to another and not quite seeing any of them through, and the confusion in these sentences does reflect my state of mind somewhat.

I am currently working on some cardboard cutout figures, a set of small paintings with a view to a larger one (or more) soon as, and some twisty wire shapes supposed to become a standing sculpture. These all have different origins but related themes.

For the past couple of years I have been introducing more of my own history and emotional life into the paintings, following on from the Family Photos series. Recently, through reading, I have been remembering a lot about the Vietnam War, which together with the atmosphere of the Cold War was a blight on my young life for years. There are many resonant – and famous – images from that conflict easily retrievable on google. The first attempt to make a painting incorporating this material stalled halfway. I cut off the bits I didn’t like, and am happier with the partial painting. I then took a look at various types of war art – and hats off to the artists who manage to bring something all their own to the theme, though this most often comes of being actively engaged in the conflict. To address war visually without being trite, overly dramatic or too obvious is a serious challenge. And all along there is the question, do I have a right to this story, having been present at the time only in my head and through pictorial media – both vividly enough as it seemed to the younger me. I am posting two of the current paintings here, very different explorations, and I hope to solve those problems as I continue, because it’s important to me.Photo0132